Many of us already know many professional drivers who have made their statements in the drifting community through Formula Drift (FD) or other world-renowned drift series. In order to give the readers a heads up on some of the up-and-coming drivers, I am covering a handful of impressive competitors from the Top Drift Pro-Am series. We already learned about Tony Cisneros and his adventures in becoming a licensed FD driver; now let’s continue with part two of my mini-series which features another unique driver.
Meet newly FD licensed driver, Jason Kim. Kim placed 3rd at Top Drift Round and 4th overall in the series. Kim drives an s13 with a welded differential; however, do not let this seemingly typical drift car fool you. The car is powered by a stock VQ35DE (out of a 350z) tuned on an AEM EMS and is currently pushing about 260 HP. The car sits on Buddy Club coilovers and features the Rival Auto Works angle kit. Kim has proven his dedication to the sport through his 10 years in drifting and three years competing in Top Drift.
Impressive, huh? Want to find out more about his journey and his unique build, continue reading for an enjoyable interview I had with him:
Q: You placed 3rd at round four, and 4th overall. Did you have a different strategy coming into this year in comparison to the past?
A: I was more comfortable this year since I drove the car the whole season last year. The only strategy was to be consistent; I’ve noticed often times a lot of drivers take themselves due to unforced errors.
Q: Will you be competing in Formula D next year? If so, which events should we expect to see you at?
A: The level of cars currently produced by the pro cars in the recent years is making it very hard for grass roots guys like me to even consider. a good friend once said “you don’t go compete to participate, you go there to win.” and I don’t want to go pro just to participate. And with that said I might see you guys in Long Beach
Q: Any changes to the car for next year?
A: Yes, POWER!! haha I do plan on adding a nos/supercharger. Thanks to the help of Brian of Bridges Racing and Henry Schelley of AEM, I have a few different options currently in the works.
Q: What has been the biggest struggle getting to this point?
A: The biggest struggle I would say would have to be finding the time to have a day job and time for the hobby. Luckily I have a very understanding fiancé who isn’t so selfish with my free time.
Q: Why a VQ versus something more common like an SR or an LS?
A: The VQ set up was not my first choice of power plant. I originally planned on going with a V8 set up but I ended up getting the VQ set up for a great deal and at the time I daily drove a 350z and was familiar with the motor. The car I drove previously was a 13B powered AE86 so I guess I can say I like set ups that are less common.
Q: Who is your drift idol/hero? Why?
A: Taka, Justin and Hiro. It’s not so much an idol/hero, but more of a respect for them. Over the last couple years of competing in pro-am I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot from them since they are the judges of Just Drift Top Drift. All three of them are there by choice and they actually watch every single driver and try their best to go to everyone and give them pointers.
Q: What advice do you have to offer for all the aspiring drifters out there?
A: Drifting will ruin your life! Don’t do it! haha jk jk. Best advice I have is to take your car out of the garage and onto a track and drive. 100hp or 1000hp it doesn’t matter, just drive the crap out of what you have and have fun. Always remember this is judged sport, sometimes it goes your way and other times it doesn’t. Don’t let it get to you and always look forward to how you are going to improve at the next event.
Q: I’m sure with so many V8s out there, I’m sure you must have gotten some heat for sticking with a 6-cylinder. What’s the reason for sticking with the VQ?
A: I’ve got a bit of both positive and negative reactions about the swap. At the end of the day the VQ was a great choice, it makes the car stand out a bit from the sea full of LS/S-chassis.